[IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance

Meryem Marzouki marzouki
Tue Sep 15 21:15:53 EEST 2009

Hi Lisa and all,

You're right that it's difficult to make a decision in the abstract.  
Let me make a methodological proposal: why not taking the issue from  
both sides, and trying to converge? The idea is to work on a matrix  
where rights and layers are crossed, and the matrix elements would be  
the requirements for a given right to be implemented/enforced/upheld  
at a given layer (if relevant).

These requirements could be positive or negative, depending on the  
right and the layer. Moreover, the requirements could be of various  
sorts: legal, economical, technical, behavioral, etc.

Regarding layers, Anriette's list is probably worth to consider, i.e.:
"physical layer (e.g. the internet backbone, radio spectrum,  
computers), a protocol or logical layer (e.g. open standards to  
ensure all sectors of the internet ?talk? to each other), and content  
and applications."
In my opinion, there is probably a "usages" layer to be added.

Then, and only then, a charter or whatever kind of document might be  

Although this reference is old (2003, but after all UDHR is even  
older:)), you may have a look at page 3 of http://www.iris.sgdg.org/ 
actions/smsi/hr-wsis/hris-caucus-input.pdf for an example of a  
translation of the right to education and knowledge into different  
requirements, which can easily fit in different layers.

Hope this helps,

Le 15 sept. 09 ? 16:44, Lisa Horner a ?crit :

> Hi all
> I think it would be useful to structure the charter on human rights  
> and principles according to different "layers" of the  
> communciations environment.  The ones I personally findmost useful  
> are infrastructure, code, applications and content.  Structuring  
> rights and principles in these layers might help us to identify all  
> of the issues and challenges involved, and make sure we catch them  
> all.  (nb we did something like this int he freedom of expression  
> project - see http://www.freedomofexpression.org.uk/resources/public 
> +interest+principles+for+the+networked+communications+environment  
> for more).
> I think it'd make sense to outline the key UDHR rights in the  
> preamble, and then flesh them out as rights and principles in the  
> rest of the doc, split into layers.
> The point was raised in the meeting on sunday that using the  
> language of "commons" might be confusing...it's a fairly complex  
> concept, and is best known in terms of the "information commons".
> However, there wasn't clear consensus on this in the meeting.  So  
> we agreed to try and structure the doc according to human rights  
> rather than layers, which makes sense if we're translating human  
> rights to apply in the internet environment.  I commented that I  
> thought this would be difficult as it would be repetitive,,,,many  
> of the rights apply to different issues at different layers.
> However, tt's difficult to talk about this in the abstract,  We  
> agreed that a good place to start with this might be to look at the  
> rights and principles currently contained in the charter and look  
> for gaps, things to be taken out and ammendments.  Once we've done  
> that, a clear structure might emerge, or we could do both and see  
> what works best......
> If anyone has any opinions on this, let the list know.  Then  
> coordinators can send out a mail with a clear list of next steps  
> for people to contribute to....
> All the best,
> Lisa
> From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org on behalf  
> of Max Senges
> Sent: Mon 14/09/2009 17:30
> To: irp
> Subject: [IRP] layers approach to stratify internet governance
> Dear all
> One of the interesting and constructive debates in our workshop  
> yesterday was about how to stratify our struggle for human rights  
> and principles on the internet.
> Anriette has pointed me to the APC 2006 anual report where she  
> distinguishes between: a physical layer, a protocols infrastructure  
> layer, and an interactional or relational layer.
> As you know Lisa and myself have proposed for very similar layers/ 
> commons (infrastructure, services (everybody who runs a website or  
> service), social = netiquette, and of course Access as an extremely  
> important goal, but politically different animal).
> The structuring of our discourse around rights is the most natural,  
> but as I have argued before: I believe that it is more strategic to  
> address existing communities (the infrastructure people, the  
> services, and the users) rather than gather around our rights flag.
> I copy Anriette's text below.
> Looking forward to your comments and especially edits either to the  
> google doc (i tried to make it editable for everyone but it should  
> definitly work through the invitation i sent to the list) or in the  
> http://irc.wiki.apc.org/ (where you need to register)
> hasta pronto
> max
> Why is information and communications infrastructure
> so fundamental to development and social change?
> I believe the answer lies in the layered nature of information and  
> communications
> infrastructure. It has a physical layer (e.g. the internet  
> backbone, radio spectrum,
> computers), a protocol or logical layer (e.g. open standards to  
> ensure all sectors of
> the internet ?talk? to each other), and content and applications.
> Yet one can also argue that there is another layer, one which is  
> constituted by
> the social processes that are facilitated by the infrastructure. It  
> can be termed the
> ?interactional? or ?relational? layer of ICT infrastructure. I like  
> to think of this layer
> as having two primary components.
> First, it is where the narratives of globalisation, diversity,  
> inclusion and exclusion
> are located. ICT expansion has positive and negative consequences.  
> E-governance and
> reliance on the internet for access to information can increase  
> exclusion and contribute
> to the formation of new elites. New applications and services  
> emerge every day, but
> usually require access to credit cards and bank accounts.
> But it is also in this layer where people, individually and in  
> groups, appropriate the
> infrastructure and claim space for protest, self-expression,  
> sharing and learning. It is a
> kind of macro-microcosm. Blogging, podcasting, social bookmarking,  
> photo sharing,
> citizens? journalism: there are many different labels and tools.  
> There is an ongoing
> tug of war between developers, markets, people and cultures of use.
> What about people who do not have access? Is the global  
> communications infra-
> structure a public good to which all people should have access?
> APC believes the answer is ?yes?. People who live in poverty, who  
> are socially,
> economically and politically disempowered, deserve access to means  
> that will enable
> them to speak, to be heard, to use online services and to  
> participate in decisions that
> impact on their lives.
> The second component of the interactional or relational layer of  
> this infrastructure
> is the public participation or social justice component. In a real  
> sense it can facilitate
> transparency and accountability, participatory policy formulation  
> and implementation,
> mobilisation, solidarity and protest. This does not happen because  
> of the existence
> of the internet. It happens because people, communities and  
> organisations use the
> internet to organise and/or obtain the information they need to  
> improve their lives.
> -------------------------------------------------
> ""Progress is the realization of Utopia"
>   .   .   .   .  .   .   . . . . Oscar Wilde
> -------------------------------------------------
> Dr. Max Senges
> www.maxsenges.com
> www.knowledgeentrepreneur.com
> -------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> IRP mailing list
> IRP at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
> http://lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org/listinfo.cgi/irp- 
> internetrightsandprinciples.org

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